Trent Richardson trade: The post-24 hour mark leaves the picture a little bit clearer on the Browns intentions

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Blow away the shock and smoke, the Browns are loading up a team for the future, which is exactly what they did when they traded down in 2011.

Roughly 24 hours have passed since the biggest trade of the NFL this season. The aftermath of dealing the third pick of the 2012 draft for a likely bottom-half pick of the 2014 draft has shown Browns fans hopping off Trent Richardson's bandwagon, and other fans tired of another year of rebuilding.

As far as the Colts go, it would seem they’re dying to set up a play action passing game, and that’s tough to do with Ahmad Bradshaw and that one former No. 1 RB who basically hasn’t done anything in the league (Donald Brown). The Colts are a very young team with cap space next year and a very cheap QB the next two years after this one (and a player option for the fifth, which there’s zero chance he sees). It’s a smart move, but…..

BUT……

Why is Cleveland willing to take a loss to get rid of the guy they spent last year getting healthy to get him on the field? Are you going to tell me your first year head coach – a guy who’s won exactly zero games and has scored 16 points in his last eight quarters of football – knows already he cannot make the consensus third overall pick of LAST YEAR into enough of a player you need to deal him two weeks into the year for absolutely no gain in the 2013 season?

I’m not buying it. At least not from that perspective.

My initial thought was Richardson must be facing a suspension, or something pretty bad happened internally. It makes no sense otherwise, unless I’m to believe Browns fans who legitimately feel the team is now tanking the season.

Hard to argue though, isn’t it? Brandon Weeden dislocating his finger before a Week 3 game against the Minnesota Vikings is hardly the reason a franchise should blow itself up midseason. It’s an odd situation, but the replacement of a starting quarterback with a back-up who hasn’t played doesn’t seem to hurt or help the Browns in this game. The Browns have had ample reasons to commit personnel suicide over the last decade, why now?

They have to have a plan. Every team has a plan, though. The new regime in Cleveland's plan appears to be aggressive in the short-term, yet, leaning on hope and promise in the long-term.

Draft picks don't mean squat if you don't know how to make them. While there's something to be said about the success of team president Joe Banner in previous roles, former president Mike Holmgren had a track record that excited Browns fans too. The Browns were roughly the same as they were before Holmgren inherited the team, and Holmgren was the one who drafted Richardson.

To be fair, Richardson was doubted by basically no one. He was the consensus third or fourth best player in the 2012 Draft. That hasn't held up over the last 18 games, but this isn't JaMarcus Russell either. At least not yet.

Still, very few would have anticipated he would have been traded so quickly into his career, even if it isn't off to the greatest of starts. Perhaps the expectations are ultimately what skews his results, fair or unfair.

I laughed at the time when the comparisons to Adrian Peterson were flying around, and I don’t think Richardson’s all that great of a player, but considering a first round pick used on a running back is currently getting teams players like Rashard Mendenhall, Donald Brown, Mark Ingram (another Alabama RB…hmmm…) and Felix Jones, getting a young one with three-down ability and a dirt cheap contract for what probably will be a 21-24 pick is probably a smart move for the Colts. They’ve got a great young nucleus, and they have what the Browns do not – a franchise QB.

Perhaps the Browns want to not only do everything they can to be in a position to draft Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville with their own pick, but know how desperate the Jaguars are for a player at that same position, they need to be able to load up on picks in case they finish with the third or fourth pick…again.

We certainly haven't heard the last of this. The Browns don’t need to trade away young running backs in order to finish with the top pick. They lose just fine on their own. Most owners don’t have the foresight to destroy whatever shred of trust their fan base may have in them in order to get a bottom half pick in the first round of a draft that’s nine months away, especially when 14 games are still left to be played. Those 14 games are now going to be played with a running back (Bobby Rainey) the Ravens cut in favor of a second fullback.

Two fullbacks on one active roster is about as rare as a white cover cornerback. Still, considering his track record, I’m going to trust Ozzie Newsome’s evaluation of talent over that of Browns GM Michael Lombardi.

Indianapolis won’t run a huge amount anyway. Andrew Luck is too good to share the ball. Richardson will be back there basically as an option to go to if Luck sees something in pre-snap. Fantasy-wise, he may get the ball at the goal line, and if he actually stays healthy for once (another issue he’s had) he could be a pretty decent back (1,200 yards, eight TDs).

What I do know is all the people who drafted him in Fantasy Football were really mad Sunday but now, are now very happy.

As your typical bitter Fantasy owner, I’m just hoping the Bills decide C.J. Spiller, after two games, isn’t in their future plans and he gets traded to New England. Yesterday at about 3:30 p.m. I would have laughed at the sheer stupidity of such a thought. As usual, we have the Browns to thank for changing our thought process on what puzzling decisions really are.

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